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Alterkaker Hot 3

December 15, 2014

These songs, all written decades ago, deal with race in a raw way that, sadly, rings as true today as it did back then.

Rednecks, by Randy Newman:

This song is from Randy Newman’s controversial 1974 Good Old Boys album. The lyrics, written from the perspective of a Southern redneck, poke fun at Southern racists (”College men from LSU, Went in dumb come out dumb too”), but also slam the hypocrisy of northern states and the bigotry found there:

Down here we're too ignorant to realize
That the North has set the nigger free
Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage in the South-Side of Chicago
And the West-Side…

Randy Newman’s songs have won two Oscars, three Emmys and six Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.


Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey, by Sly and The Family Stone

The title was attention grabbing, but Sly and The Family Stone were a peace-and-love band. In fact, the soul/funk/psychedelic group was the first major American rock group to feature an integrated, multi-gender lineup.

This provocative song comes from Stand!, their 1969 effort that became one of the biggest selling albums of the 1960s. 

“Well, I went down across the country
And I heard the voices ring
People talkin' softly to each other
And not a word could change a thing”


The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll by Cage The Elephant

The original version comes from Bob Dylan’s 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin’, and gives an account of the 1963 killing of 51-year old Hattie Carroll by William Zanzinger, a wealthy young tobacco farmer from Maryland. He spent six months in a county jail and fined $500 for his crime. The first line of the song more or less encapsulates the whole story:

“William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll,

With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger…”

This rendition is by Cage the Elephant, a rock band with an eclectic sound from Bowling Green, Kentucky, whose first album was released in 2008.

Randy Newman, Good Old Boys
Stand! by Sly and the Family Stone
Cage The Elephant
December 8, 2014

Heaven” is from the Talking Heads’ 1979 album, “Fear Of Music,” released four years after the band made their debut at CBGB (as the opening act for The Ramones). Producer Brian Eno collaborated with them on both the song and the album.

Scottish singer, songwriter, flower child Donovan, who emerged from the British folk scene, incorporated a strange, distinctive mix of folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia and calypso into his music. He became a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in 2012. "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" was released in 1967 as the opening track of his double album “A Gift From a Flower to a Garden.” The song references quite a few eclectic colors, such as Havana Lake, Rose Carmethene, and Alizarin Crimson.

In 1928, "My Blue Heaven" by crooner Gene Austin held the number one spot for 13 weeks and sold over 5 million copies, making it one of the biggest hits of all time. In 1956, it was the B-side to Fats Domino’sI'm in Love Again.” Fats Domino, incidentally, was the number on selling R & B singer of the 1950’s, and third best selling artist of that decade (behind Elvis and Pat Boone). In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 25 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time"

Heaven by Talking Heads
Wear Your Love Like Heaven by Donovan
My Blue Heaven by Fats Domino
December 1, 2014

On With The Show is culled from the 1967 Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Stones psychedelic answer to Sgt. Pepper. The song spoofs English Music Hall tradition and Jagger wrings the most out of his cabaret-singer impression.

I’m Not Signifying and Good Time Women were outtakes from the 1972 Exile On Main Street sessions. The former is a signature Stones blues number, while the latter rocker would serve as the blueprint for one of the Stones’ greatest songs, Tumbling Dice. Both tunes were later included in a re-mastered version of Exile that was released in 2010; 38 years after first being issued, the CD promptly shot to number one on the UK charts and number two in the U.S.

Their Satanic Majesties Request
Exile On Main Street
The Rolling Stones